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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2015 Aug;35:7-12. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2015 Mar 30.

ER-mitochondria contact sites in yeast: beyond the myths of ERMES.

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Institute of Biochemistry, ETH Zurich, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland.
Institute of Biochemistry, ETH Zurich, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland. Electronic address:


A standout feature of eukaryotic cells is the presence of organelles with distinct chemical compositions and physical properties, which aid in the accomplishment of specialized metabolic tasks. This complex topology, however, makes a permanent crosstalk between the organelles a necessity for the coordination of cellular function. While molecule exchange between organelles via the vesicular transport system has been extensively studied, communication via direct connections has only recently become a new matter of interest. These direct connections termed membrane contact sites (MCSs) represent zones of close proximity (10-30nm) between two organelles. Research in the past years has revealed a number of MCSs especially between the ER and almost every other organelle [1(•)]. In particular, the MCSs between the ER and the mitochondria have undergone intense investigation. While the quest for ER-mitochondria MCS components in human cells has led to the revelation of an ever growing number of potential factors, studies in the simpler eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae revealed the actual existence of a molecular tether between the two organelles [2(••)].

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